Two Synagogues, One Neighbourhood


There must be at least dozen synagogues within a five minute walk of St. Viateur and Hutchison, a busy corner at the heart of Montreal’s Hasidic Jewish neighbourhood. They exist in the midst of an equally large number of former synagogues, abandoned by more liberal Jewish congregations as they moved west in the 1950s.

Two examples can be seen above: the first is a newish building on St. Viateur, used by a Hasidic congregation, while the second is a much older synagogue that has been converted into a private residence. Look closely you can see two Stars of David and Hebrew inscriptions etched into its marble entranceway.


This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Tuesday January 22 2008at 11:01 pm , filed under Uncategorized . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

8 Responses to “Two Synagogues, One Neighbourhood”

  • That explains the motorbikes that are always parked out front (there’s one in your picture, but I’ve seen several there). Was kind of hoping it was a chapter of Hell’s Rabbis.

  • Ian Rogers says:

    Gehenna’s Rabbis, Kate, get your mythos straight!

    I know there’s quite a few former synagogues like that little one on Hutchison or the old B’nai Jacob (now College Francais). I would like to take a look at more out of historical interest, but have been having trouble finding the names and locations of closed synagogues in the area. Do you know of any lists or websites I could use to look that kind of info up?

  • Cedric says:

    Oh hey! I pass in front of that strange-looking house on the second photo every day! I thought that it was just that its builders had a taste for seafood restaurants or something!

  • Ian, a handful of old synagogues are seen here:

    There’s also a pamplet available at the Mile End Library documenting the neighbourhood’s religious heritage.

    If you want really detailed information, you should probably go to the Jewish Public Library. I’m sure there are plenty of resources there.

  • Ian Rogers says:

    Thanks, Chris – I will definitely hit up the Mile-End Library, and did not know about the Jewish Public Library but will definitely make a trip. Excellent tips, I salute you.

  • Patrick Donovan says:

    The leaflet is:
    Traces of Montreal’s Jewish Heritage: The Synagogues of the Plateau Mont-Royal in the 20th Century, octobre 2000 (Susan Bronson, Isabelle Bouchard, Gabriel Malo et Sara Tauben).

    In addition to the leaflet, there’s a detailed inventory with files on each synagogue & photos in one or two spiral-bound volumes. It’s available at UdeM Faculte de l’Amenagement library – look up “The Synagogues of the Plateau Mont-Royal in the 20th century : preliminary inventory”

  • Patrick Donovan says:

    Oh, and the Canadian Jewish Congress Archives near Concordia has files on lots of former & current individual synagogues in Montreal.

  • Donal Hanley says:

    (oops sorry my computer went all funny) anyway..inquired what they were for. The first, the man said, is my house. The second is the synagogue where I go on the Sabbath. And the third, inquired the captain? The third, the man retorted, that is the synagogue I would not be caught dead in.